LUQ-LTER Newsletter

Early 2023 Fall Updates

We are happy to present a newsletter to get the fall 2023 semester started at the Luquillo LTER.

LUQ participation in 108th ESA Annual Meeting

Aura Alonso-Ramírez - PhD Candidate

Main Research Question:
How does large-scale hurricane disturbance affect the functional diversity and trait composition of moth communities in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico?

Main Findings:
  • While the amount of functional niche space did not change, hurricane disturbance led to higher evenness and dispersion of species within functional space. This might be due to a decrease in functionally similar species.
  • Body size decreased in palm forests but not in tabonuco, suggesting lower resource availability in palm forests following disturbance. We found increased aposematism and flash coloration, which might indicate a post-disturbance shift in anti-predator defense strategy.

Kenzi Stemp

  • Our LUQ-LTER Technician Kenzi Stemp presented a research poster focusing on recruitment in the LFDP at the Ecological Society of America Annual meeting in Portland, OR.
  • Using the data collected by our interns, technicians, and volunteers, Kenzi was able to present preliminary results from the LFDP tree census to compare the state of the forest pre- and post-hurricane Maria.
  • Kenzi's poster highlighted the unprecedented explosion of early-successional tree species that currently dominate the forest (around 35,000 new trees in just half the study area!) and some of the implications that more intense and more frequent disturbance may have on El Yunque National Forest.
Dr. Chris Nytch, Evald Maceno and Dr. Jess K. Zimmerman.

Evald Maceno, PhD Candidate

  • Poster: Assessment of masting behavior in a tropical wet forest in Puerto Rico."

LUQ Climate Survey

LUQ Work Place Climate Survey

Encuesta Ambiente Laboral LUQ

Encuesta Ambiente Laboral LUQ

Conferences of Interest - BIOGEOMON 2024

The 2024 BIOGEOMON Conference (the 11th International Symposium on Ecosystem Behavior) will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on January 7-11, 2024. Abstract submissions and registration will open on Friday, September 5th. Student discounts are offered, and there are applications for travel subsidy. Please share! You can learn more here:

El Verde Field Station Update

We would like to inform that UPR-RP was awarded $920,880 in infrastructure grant funding from NSF to enhance research and education capacity at El Verde Field Station (EVFS) via installation of a solar system and batteries for self-sufficient energy generation.
  • The system 73.35 kW DC / 56.887 kW AC solar system and 224 kWhr of battery storage at EVFS that will provide up to 73% of annual electricity needs including all essential office, laboratory, and dormitory equipment.
  • The panels will be mounted on the roofs of several existing structures at the station, which will require installation of a standing seam roof and repair of an interior ceiling in one building.
  • The completed solar system will ensure the continuation of critical research and education projects and enable new lines of scientific inquiry in the field of tropical forest ecology.
  • The solar infrastructure will also make for a more self-sustaining station that is resilient to future power outages and demonstrate how sustainable electricity generation can support and advance publicly funded ecological science.
  • Installation is anticipated to be concluded by fall 2024.

Recent Publications from LUQ members


Nytch, Christopher J. et al. 2023. "Effects of historical land use and recovery pathways on composition, structure, ecological function, and ecosystem services in a Caribbean secondary forest." Forest Ecology and Management 546: 121311. (August 16, 2023). Tag(s): Luquillo Experimental Forest, Native and non-native trees, Natural regeneration, Structural attributes, Tropical forest dynamics and restoration, i-Tree Eco

Schaus, Maynard H. et al. 2023. "Unraveling the Effects of Hurricane Maria on the Abundance and Composition of Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) Species Along an Elevational Gradient in Puerto Rico." Caribbean Journal of Science 53(2): 68–78. (August 4, 2023).

Mercado-Díaz, Joel A. et al. 2023. "Fostering Knowledge Exchange and Collaboration among Drought-Related Initiatives in the Caribbean." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 104(6): E1146–53. (August 16, 2023).

Mackowiak, Trevor J., and Nicolas Perdrial. 2023. "Monitoring of Suspended Sediment Mineralogy in Puerto-Rican Rivers: Effects of Flowrate and Lithology." Minerals 13(2): 208. (February 20, 2023). Tag(s): Luquillo, Puerto-Rico, SEM-EDS, discharge, quantitative XRD, resilience

Chen, Dingfang, Mei Yu, Grizelle González, and Qiong Gao. 2023. "Altitudinal Pattern of Soil Organic Carbon and Nutrients in a Tropical Forest in Puerto Rico." In Neotropical Gradients and Their Analysis, ed. Randall W. Myster. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 345–59. (August 16, 2023).

Easley, Kathleen M., Jess K. Zimmerman, Steven McGee, and Randi McGee-Tekula. 2023. "Scientific communities of practice: K–12 outreach model around organism responses to repeated hurricane disturbances." Ecosphere 14(7): e4624. (August 8, 2023). Tag(s): Luquillo Experimental Forest, Special Feature: Tropical Forest Responses to Repeated Large-Scale Experimental Hurricane Effects, educational outreach, hurricane disturbance, long-term ecological research, population models, scientific modeling, tropical forest, tropical forest communities of practice

Bogdziewicz, Michal et al. 2023. "Linking seed size and number to trait syndromes in trees." Global Ecology and Biogeography 32(5): 683–94. (August 4, 2023). Tag(s): fecundity, functional traits, leaf economics, life history strategies, size syndrome, tree recruitment

Smith-Martin, Chris M. et al. 2023. "Hydraulic traits are not robust predictors of tree species stem growth during a severe drought in a wet tropical forest." Functional Ecology 37(2): 447–60. (August 4, 2023). Tag(s): hydraulic safety margins, optical xylem vulnerability technique, plant functional traits, plant hydraulic traits, shifting rainfall patterns, tropical ecosystems, tropical forests community composition, tropical trees and palm, xylem cavitation, xylem embolism

Presley, Steven J., and Michael R. Willig. 2023. "Gradients and the Structure of Neotropical Metacommunities: Effects of Disturbance, Elevation, Landscape Structure, and Biogeography." In Neotropical Gradients and Their Analysis, ed. Randall W. Myster. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 419–50. (August 4, 2023).

Presley, Steven J., and Michael R. Willig. 2023. "Long-term responses to large-scale disturbances: spatiotemporal variation in gastropod populations and communities." Oikos 2023(7): e09605. (August 4, 2023). Tag(s): Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico, climate change, global warming, hurricane-induced disturbance, population dynamics, press disturbance, pulse disturbance, succession, tropics

Delgado-Quiñones I., McGee S., McGee-Tekula, R., Báez-Rodríguez, N. & Rubin, A. Supporting Teacher Learning in Data Jam: A Design-Based Research of Teacher Professional Development Model

Van Beusekom, Ashley E.; González, Grizelle; Rivera, María M. 2023. Tropical Forest Microclimatic Changes: Hurricane, Drought, and 15-20 Year Climate Trend Effects on Elevational Gradient Temperature and Moisture. Forests. 14(2): 325-.

Mercado-Díaz, Joel A.; Holupchinski, Eva; lvarez-Berríos, Nora; Gould, William A.; Miller, Paul; Mote, Thomas; Ramseyer, Craig; González, Grizelle. 2023. Fostering Knowledge Exchange and Collaboration among Drought-Related Initiatives in the Caribbean. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. 104(6): E1146-E1153.


Mariani-Ríos A., Maldonado-Benítez N. & Ramírez A. Natural history of Odonata assemblages in tropical streams in Puerto Rico. Neotropical Biodiversity Vol. 8 No. 1

Zanne, Amy E.; Flores-Moreno, Habacuc; Powell, Jeff R.; Cornwell, William K.; Dalling, James W.; Austin, Amy T.; Classen, Aim e T.; Eggleton, Paul; Okada, Kei-ichi; Parr, Catherine L.; Adair, E. Carol; Adu-Bredu, Stephen; Alam, Md Azharul; Alvarez-Garz n, Carolina; Apgaua, Deborah; Arag n, Roxana; Ardon, Marcelo; Arndt, Stefan K.; Ashton, Louise A.; Barber, Nicholas A.; Beauch ne, Jacques; Berg, Matty P.; Beringer, Jason; Boer, Matthias M.; Bonet, Jos Antonio; Bunney, Katherine; Burkhardt, Tynan J.; Carvalho, Dulcin ia; Castillo-Figueroa, Dennis; Cernusak, Lucas A.; Cheesman, Alexander W.; Cirne-Silva, Tain M.; Cleverly, Jamie R.; Cornelissen, Johannes H. C.; Curran, Timothy J.; D Angioli, Andr M.; Dallstream, Caroline; Eisenhauer, Nico; Evouna Ondo, Fidele; Fajardo, Alex; Fernandez, Romina D.; Ferrer, Astrid; Fontes, Marco A. L.; Galatowitsch, Mark L.; González, Grizelle; Gottschall, Felix; Grace, Peter R.; Granda, Elena; Griffiths, Hannah M.; Guerra Lara, Mariana; Hasegawa, Motohiro; Hefting, Mariet M.; Hinko-Najera, Nina; Hutley, Lindsay B.; Jones, Jennifer; Kahl, Anja; Karan, Mirko; Keuskamp, Joost A.; Lardner, Tim; Liddell, Michael; Macfarlane, Craig; Macinnis-Ng, Cate; Mariano, Ravi F.; M ndez, M. Soledad; Meyer, Wayne S.; Mori, Akira S.; Moura, Aloysio S.; Northwood, Matthew; Ogaya, Rom ; Oliveira, Rafael S.; Orgiazzi, Alberto; Pardo, Juliana; Peguero, Guille; Penuelas, Josep; Perez, Luis I.; Posada, Juan M.; Prada, Cecilia M.; P v tiv , Tom ; Prober, Suzanne M.; Prunier, Jonathan; Quansah, Gabriel W.; Resco de Dios, Victor; Richter, Ronny; Robertson, Mark P.; Rocha, Lucas F.; R a, Megan A.; Sarmiento, Carolina; Silberstein, Richard P.; Silva, Mateus C.; Siqueira, Fl via Freire; Stillwagon, Matthew Glenn; Stol, Jacqui; Taylor, Melanie K.; Teste, Fran ois P.; Tng, David Y. P.; Tucker, David; T rke, Manfred; Ulyshen, Michael D.; Valverde-Barrantes, Oscar J.; van den Berg, Eduardo; van Logtestijn, Richard S. P.; Veen, G. F. (Ciska); Vogel, Jason G.; Wardlaw, Timothy J.; Wiehl, Georg; Wirth, Christian; Woods, Michaela J.; Zalamea, Paul-Camilo. 2022. Termite sensitivity to temperature affects global wood decay rates. Science. 377(6613): 1440-1444.

Van Beusekom, Ashley E.; González, Grizelle. 2022. Near-Surface Atmospheric Behavior over Complex Tropical Topography in Puerto Rico Dominated by Seasonal Patterns Despite Frequent Environmental Changes. Earth Interactions. 26(1): 151-167.

Hogan, J. Aaron; Sharpe, Joanne M.; Van Beusekom, Ashley; Stankavich, Sarah; Matta Carmona, Samuel; Bithorn, John E.; Torres Díaz, Jamarys; González, Grizelle; Zimmerman, Jess K.; Shiels, Aaron B. 2022. Solar radiation and soil moisture drive tropical forest understory responses to experimental and natural hurricanes. Ecosphere. 13(7): 11543-.

Huang, Wei; González, Grizelle; Barberena-Arias, María Fernanda; Zou, Xiaoming. 2022. Predominant climate control on green leaf decomposition across subtropical rain and dry forests following hurricane disturbances. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 168(2): 108609-.

Clark, K. E.; Stallard, R. F.; Murphy, S. F.; Scholl, M. A.; González, G.; Plante, A. F.; McDowell, W. H. 2022. Extreme rainstorms drive exceptional organic carbon export from forested humid-tropical rivers in Puerto Rico. Nature Communications. 13(1): 172-.

Moreno, Ivia I.; Barberena Arias, Maria F.; González, Grizelle; Lodge, D. Jean; Cantrell, Sharon A. 2022. Canopy opening increases leaf shredding arthropods and nutrient mineralization but not mass loss in wet tropical forest. Ecosphere. 13(6): 161-.

Lodge, D. Jean; Van Beusekom, Ashley E.; González, Grizelle; Sánchez Julia, Mareli; Stankavich, Sarah. 2022. Disturbance reduces fungal white rot litter mat cover in a wet subtropical forest. Ecosphere. 13(2): 373-.

LUQ Call for Job Advertisement

Thoughts or comments? Interested in sharing news or lab results in the next Newsletter? Please reach out to Juan G. Garcia at, and we will be more than happy to include it. ¡Excelente semana!
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